Well Bills fans, GM Buddy Nix finally kept his word and drafted a potential franchise QB. His name is E.J. Manuel. Still on the boards are quarterbacks, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib and more shockingly Geno Smith. By the end of the first day of the draft, many Bills fans are probably wondering… Did Buddy Nix jump the gun in taking Manuel over other QBs in the draft? Let’s take a look.
- Manuel has three years of starting experience under his belt.
- Averaged over 65% completion rate over the last 2 years.
- Led QBs in terms of physical measurements at the combine.
- Fast 4.59’ 40 yard dash, strong arm and good 10.2” hands.
- Manuel can move in the pocket with his mobility.
- Manuel also has a quick release.
- Manuel has been inconsistent (though improved much this past year).
- Needs to improve reading opponent defenses,
- According to Mel, he doesn't go through his progressions.
- The Bills with GM Buddy Nix, HC Doug Marrone and OC Nathaniel Hackett I feel did their homework this off-season. Marrone in particular did a nice job developing Nassib over the last four years. The fact that he didn't take him may surprise some, but it’s hard to overlook Manuel’s better physical ability. Nassib, Barkley and Smith all lacked the mobility that Manuel has as well as his arm strength. For the weather we get in Buffalo, arm strength can come in handy. Additionally, given the amount of interviews and reviewing tape, Marrone must feel he can coach Manuel to counter those aforementioned weaknesses.
- Don’t expect Manuel to be the definitive starter!! Too often, teams like the Bills have seen talented QBs get thrust into starting duties too soon and struggle. I don’t think the Bills plan on starting Manuel having brought in QB Kevin Kolb this off-season. Kolb has flashed ability and while the Bills may not make the playoffs with him, can play well enough and give Manuel the needed time to develop, read defenses better and settle into the role of a starting QB. If he does well enough in camp, who knows… Marrone may opt to start him; but with Kolb, there is less pressure to do so.
- The final and big thing dictating the draft is that the Bills traded down. While they were not willing to take a chance on a top-8 pick on this weak QB class, they did not risk it all and picked up a much needed additional second round pick to rebuild. Given the players on the board as well, there were no dynamite players still to satisfy the Bills other needs (WR, ILB, OLB, CB, OG)… And while Smith, Nassib and Barkley are all still on the boards, I’d be willing to bet that one or two of these players will be gone before the Bills can use their first of two second round picks.
All in all the Bills have a QB they feel has the potential to develop into a solid starter. All we can do is support this young player as his career progresses. This in my opinion was a solid B grade pick, a needed pick to be done. Don’t panic and expect Manuel to be thrown in from day 1. Marrone is going to take time, give Kolb the starting role and work to develop Manuel.
Go Bills & Go #3!!